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Living in Hitler's Germany 

A letter from Hans Schmidt ofGANPAC 

Published in the Hoskins Report, Dec. 1993 
Richard Kelly Hoskins, publisher 



You asked for someone who had lived in Hitler's Germany to tell what it was like. Permit me, 
someone who lived under the Swastika flag from 1935, when the Saar was reunited with 
Germany, to 1945, to give a short answer. 

To be a boy or girl at that time was wonderful. In the Hitler Youth the differences between 
Christian denominations or the different German states didn't count. We all truly felt that we 
were members of one body of people - one nation. Youth hostels were opened all over the 
Reich, enabling us to hike from one beautiful town to another seeing our fatherland. Every effort 
was made to strengthen our minds and bodies. Contrary to what is said today, we were 
encouraged to become free in spirit, and not to succumb to peer (or authority) pressure. In 
peacetime, NO military training was allowed by the Hitler Youth leadership; scouting yes. 
Incidentally, to "snitch on our parents" was frowned upon. 

At the very time when America's allies, the Soviets, destroyed most of the Christian churches in 
Russia and Ukraine, about 2500 new churches were built in Germany. NOT ONE Christian 
church was closed. It was the law that school and church had priority over service in the Hitler 
Youth. As late as the fall of 1944, the Waffen SS barracks in Breslau supplied two buses to take 
youth to either the nearest Catholic or Protestant church every Sunday. To be a registered 
member of a Christian church did not prevent advancement in the National Socialist Party. 

Germany was National Socialist, but free enterprise flourished during the entire Hitler years. No 
company was nationalized. No small businessman was stopped from opening up his own store. I 
myself worked during the war for a company that can only be called part of international 
capitalism. If you owned shares, nobody confiscated them, like the allies did in 1945. 

The accomplishments of the 'Nazis' were incredible. Starting without money and with six 
million unemployed (a third of the workforce), they constructed the entire German Autobahn 
road network in a short span of 6 years - almost without corruption - while seeing to it that the 
new road system did not unnecessarily destroy either the German landscape, or wildlife habitats 
and forests. Two years after the NS were elected to power, conditions were so improved that 
workers had to be hired in nearby friendly countries to help alleviate the worker's shortage in 
Germany. Germany was booming while Britain, France and the US were in the depths of 
depression. 

To help the workers get cheap transportation, the VW was designed and a factory was being built 
for their manufacture when the war started. Also, for the common people, villages of small single 



family homes were erected. The monthly payments were set so low that almost anyone could 
afford his own house. In Hitler's Germany there were no homeless; no beggars. Crime was 
almost non existent because habitual criminals were in concentration camps. All this was 
reported in the newspapers and was known by everybody. 

The German press during the Third Reich had fewer taboos than the American press today. The 
only taboo I can think of evolved around Hitler, and, during the war, there was a law that 
prohibited "defeatism". This was because of the negative role the German press played in the 
German defeat of 1918. 

It bears remembering that the 'European Economic Community" was first coined by the Third 
Reich government. I remember many articles, both pro and con about this subject. One should 
also not forget that during the war at least seven million foreign nationals (nearly 10% of the 
population) worked in Germany, either as voluntary workers (Dutch, Danes, French, Poles, 
Ukrainians come to mind), or as forced laborers or as prisoners. I know of no instance where 
foreigners were attacked or molested (much less killed) because they were foreigners. Speaking 
of the press, I have an article from 1943 in my possession that spells out how necessary 
friendship is between the German and Russian peoples. 

Between 1933 and 1945 there was a tremendous emphasis on culture: theatres flourished; the 
German movie industry produced about 100 feature films per year (of which not one was anti- 
American. Only 50 of them can be considered pure propaganda movies). Some the best classical 
recordings still extant were made in Hitler's Germany. Actors from all over Europe, but mainly 
from France, Sweden and Italy were stars in German movies. 

Germany always loved sports, and there was no lack of opportunities to partake in any sport one 
liked. The 1936 Berlin Olympics was merely a showcase of what transpired all over the Reich. In 
a book on these Olympics issued by the Hitler Youth that is still in my possession, Jesse Owens 
is shown several times and mentioned favorably. During the Schmeling boxing fights, we kids all 
knew of Joe Louis, the brown bomber. Nowhere did I ever read derogatory remarks about other 
races. Certainly the accomplishments of Germany and the Germans were given prominence, 
similar to 'the ad nauseum' statements of today that the U.S. is the land of the free, etc. In my ten 
years in the Hitler Youth (actually 8, since I obviously couldn't attend while a soldier), the Jews 
were never mentioned. Other sports that gripped our attention were flying (there was Hitler 
Youth flying training with their own sail planes), car races (British and Italian drivers 
dominated) and riding. 

Frequently I am asked about gun control during the Hitler era. Claims are made that Hitler could 
take power because he disarmed the German people. That is nonsense. In Germany gun 
ownership was never as prevalent as it is in America. I would say that for hundreds of years one 
needed a gun license in order to keep a weapon. On the other hand, my father owned an old 
pistol clandestinely (about which we children knew), and there were gun clubs all over the 
Reich. Furthermore, Germany was always a country with many excellent gunsmiths. It is 
doubtful that they could stay in business if the laws were too stringent. I would surmise that 
while Germany was Germany (before it was 'liberated' by the allies) gun ownership probably 
was far more widespread than is acknowledged today. Laws on the books were mainly to give 



the police a handle to arrest criminals with guns, not the ordinary citizen. Incidentally, just as 
Hitler had forbidden so-called 'punishment exercises' in the army (the brutal methods still 
employed in the American army), so had he forbidden the use of clubs by the police. He 
considered it demeaning to the German people. 

Finally this: I don't believe I'll ever see again a people as happy and content as were the 
great majority of Germans under Hitler, especially in peacetime. Certainly some minorities 
suffered: former parliamentary politicians - because they couldn't play their political 
games; the Jews - because they lost their power over Germany; the gypsies - because 
during the war they were required to work; and crooked union bosses - because they lost 
their parasitical positions. To this day I believe that the happiness of the majority of a people is 
more important than the well-being of a few spoiled minorities. In school there should be 
emphasis on promoting the best and the intelligent, as was done in Germany during the Hitler 
years - a fact that contributed after the war to the rapid German reconstruction. That Hitler was 
loved by his people, there can be no question. Even a few week's before the war's end and his 
death, he was able to drive to the front and mingle among the combat soldiers with only 
minimum security. None of the soldiers had to unload their weapons before meeting with the 
Fuhrer (as was required when President Bush met with American soldiers during the Gulf War). 

Germany under Hitler was quite different from what the media would have you believe.